Naloxone in Schools
Pursuant to Arkansas Code § 17-92- 101(16), Governor Asa Hutchinson along with the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy announced the Naloxone Protocol for Arkansas which allows Arkansas-licensed pharmacists to dispense naloxone, along with any necessary supplies for administration, to eligible persons who are at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, or who are family members, friends, or others who are in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose. The full protocol along with supplemental resources may be found on the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy website.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include medications, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, which are commonly prescribed to treat pain, as well as illegal drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl. Opioids effectively attach to receptors in your brain and send signals that block pain, slow breathing, and calm the body down. An opioid overdose happens when the body has been overloaded with either medication or an illicit drug and breathing can slow down to dangerous levels, which could even cause death. When administered, Naloxone displaces the opioid molecules from the receptors and can rapidly reverse the respiratory depression caused by an overdose. Multiple doses may be needed and symptoms can return, so emergency medical attention is still critical for survival.
To reduce the morbidity and mortality of opioid overdoses among students, Arkansas Public Schools may choose to stock naloxone for use in emergencies. Districts are encouraged to develop procedures for stocking and administration of an anti-opioid and include this information in their school policies.
What is NARCAN®
NARCAN® Nasal Spray (naloxone HCL) is an FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. NARCAN was developed for first responders, as well as family, friends, and caregivers— to be able to administer with no medical training required following the Instructions for Use. Repeated doses may be necessary. NARCAN® Nasal Spray is not a substitute for emergency medical care. Always get help immediately, even if the person wakes up, because he/she may relapse into respiratory depression. More information on NARCAN® is available at https://www.narcan.com/
How to Obtain NARCAN®Since 2019, thanks to funding from the Department of Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services grants, the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) of the University of Arkansas System has been providing naloxone administration training and naloxone kits to school nurses across the state. To date, 944 school nurses have received naloxone kits. Upon completion of a required two-hour online course, participants are issued a naloxone kit containing two- 4mg doses of naloxone, personal protective items, treatment cards, and instructions on reporting in the naloxone administration tool. If you are a school nurse and would like to carry naloxone or need a replacement, please contact the Criminal Justice Institute at 501-570-8051 or email@example.com
Reporting the Use of Naloxone
To compile important information about when and to whom naloxone is administered, we ask all school nurses to complete the Naloxone Reporting Tool when naloxone is used. The survey can be accessed on www.narcansas.com and on the NARCANsas mobile app via the “Report Use” button. This online form is mobile-compatible and comprised of a total of 24 questions, some required and some optional. Those in a position to administer naloxone are encouraged to review the questions before an emergency arises. The information provided will be very beneficial in defining the scope of the opioid epidemic in Arkansas and help with the development of needed statewide policies. CJI will also replace naloxone that is administered. However, in order to receive replacement naloxone, an administration report must be completed.
What is NARCANsas
NARCANsas.com is a mobile-compatible information hub with life-saving resources and information for the prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid use in Arkansas. The website and the free companion mobile app called NARCANsas were developed by the Criminal Justice Institute and the Arkansas Drug Director’s Office. Both provide information on what is an opioid overdose, treatment center locations drug take back locations, and information that will help you administer the drug naloxone. The NARCANsas app’s “Rescue Now” feature narrates steps in English and Spanish to assist someone in the administration of naloxone during a response to an opioid overdose.